It’s been two years since Power for All launched at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) forum on May 21, 2015. Since then, the campaign’s greatest successes—from elevating messages on the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector with nearly 1 billion media impressions or securing ecosystem-wide commitments from government, private sector and civil society to grow DRE in energy-poor countries—have been possible by working with and through our nearly 200 partners around the world.
Whether it has been on-the-ground campaigns with Practical Action, Hivos, SNV and others in Zimbabwe, global advocacy efforts around launching the Energy Access Dividend framework (with SEforALL, the World Bank Group, DFID, Acumen, GOGLA and our Platform for Energy Access Knowledge [PEAK]), or lighting up the twitterverse around our latest call to action, the Power for All coalition has come together to challenge the energy-as-usual mindset and position DRE as a critical, legitimate pillar of the energy sector through creating political will and market momentum.
We’ve had challenges, too. In addition to the inherent difficulties that come with being a start-up and a disruptor, we’ve struggled with what the rest of the DRE sector faces – capacity, prioritization, funding, bureaucracy and yes, naysayers. But with our team energized by the change we can see and the inspiration of our partners' efforts, our commitment to stay the course is continually reinforced.
Altogether, our first two years of the campaign have made it clear that without direct, persistent and increasing interventions to scale the access ecosystem in impoverished nations, eradicating energy poverty will continue to be a pipe dream. As we discussed in Decentralized Renewables: From Promise to Progress, the majority of countries suffering from electricity poverty have yet to truly mobilize the power of DRE in accelerating universal energy access. The only way to rapidly scale the impacts that the DRE ecosystem can deliver is through (a) partnership with other like-minded CSOs, companies and compatriots and (b) a targeted “tipping point” strategy that front-loads investment in specific countries mostly likely to accelerate the adoption curve of DRE products and services.
With that in mind, Power for All is challenging our team, our partners and our sector with a 10-year vision that embraces deep co-creation, while seeking ecosystem scale at speed. We will focus on 25 critical-path, energy-poor countries that are most likely to create a domino effect of change. We are calling this vision “25x25.”
Based on the diffusion of innovations theory, a country will “tip” when the market amasses a critical nucleus of consumers and a new product category is mainstreamed enough—due to the work of the supporting ecosystem--to appeal to the broader consumer base. Potential tipping point countries share a similar dynamic of political will (e.g., a national commitment to electrification or an Energy Africa compact), combined with an uncertain path towards implementation (e.g., rural electrification plan and targets, specific DRE targets). Ending this implementation gap is central to the 25x25 strategy.
We have developed preliminary thinking on the 25 countries most likely to “tip” by 2025. Still, the only way to make countries tip quickly is for CSOs, development organizations and donors, DRE companies and local stakeholders to join forces. Power for All’s national campaigns have shown that by working together with urgency in a defined time frame to catalyze the key drivers associated with DRE market growth--including the creation of renewable energy associations, establishment of DRE task forces and a growing share-of-voice in the media-- that amazing changes on the ground is possible—including a nearly 1000x growth in the DRE sector in Sierra Leone in less than a year.
To make 25x25 a reality and build a more collaborative, integrated approach to achieving SDG7, Power for All asks those companies, NGOs and institutions already working with us, as well as those who aren’t yet, to share your ideas for the future, and help us figure out how to best bring this vision to life. We know that collaboration and building new partnerships can be confusing and challenging at times, but we also know that the energy access challenge that confronts our world is bigger than anyone of us individually.
We’re eager to bring together the ideas and learnings from our global family, all united by our shared vision to achieve universal energy access before 2025.